School Library Journal
This utilitarian series describes innovations in eight means of transportation as well as their current uses. Each volume features a concise history of its topic, covers current issues and developments and the future outlook, and includes brief biographies of significant people. Both genders and minorities are represented, and up-to-date concerns, such as fuel efficiency and pollution, are included. Most readable are the volumes by Franchino and Marsico; however, there is a formulaic quality to the writing, caused, for example, by repeated mentions of the value of teamwork. A couple of minor errors crop up, and Masters demonstrates an annoying habit of quoting Wilbur Wright’s thoughts. Good color photos generally contribute to the texts but have a tendency to be small, making it difficult to pick out the details they are meant to convey. Bold color choices in the page design sometimes cross the line into garish, as in green highlights on a purple background. Still, the series often provides a view of some compelling developments, such as high-speed rail, future trucks, and container ships, and it benefits from inherent interest in the topic.